Canada to launch single-event sports betting on 27 August

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti has announced that single-event sports betting in Canada will go live in two weeks.

This comes after Bill C-218, which legalised single-event sports wagering in Canada, received Royal Assent in June.

Canada to launch single-event betting

Yesterday, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti, Chris Bittle, the Member for St. Catharines, and Vance Badawey, the Member for Niagara Centre announced 27 August will be the effective date for bill C-218.

Bill C-218 would legalise single-event sports betting in Canada by repealing paragraph 207(4)(b) of Canada’s Criminal Code to permit single-event sports betting. Up until now, sports betting in Canada was only legal via parlay wagering.

The measure also legalises sports betting at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls.

Lametti said: “I am pleased to announce that single-event sports betting will be legal in Canada on August 27th. Canadians will have the opportunity to participate in single event sport betting in a regulated and safe environment, at the discretion of the provinces and territories. 

“The Government of Canada will continue discussions on the future of gaming, collaboratively with provincial and Indigenous partners.”

Bittle said: “Canadians have been able to legally bet on sports for a long time through parlays. However, instead of creating jobs and boosting our local tourism industry, single event sport betting has been a black market that evaded taxes and directed funds to organized crime. 

“Single event sport betting is a multi-billion dollar industry and its legalization will add to our economy, create jobs and boost tourism.”

Badawey added: “As Canada’s economy restarts and revs up, we want to make sure it has all the fuel it needs to come back as strong as possible. 

“Examining our gambling industry and making responsible changes that allow citizens to better enjoy responsible betting while contributing dollars to our economy instead of the pockets of organized crime is an action I fully support, especially as our tourism and casino industries open their doors and need our support in facing renewed competition from our American friends for tourism dollars.”

Similar to the set up for US sports betting, each Canadian province will have the option to choose if they wish to legalise the activity.

Canadian lotteries on stand by

As each Canadian province can already offer parlay wagers via their lotteries, several lotteries have already made preparations to launch single-event wagering.

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is set to launch single-event wagering on its sites on 27 August. The BCLC is also looking at ways it can expand its sports betting offerings through land-based facilities.

According to the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, Alberta plans to launch single-event wagering in the fall on its Play Alberta site.

Ontario in process of creating regulations

Ontario’s regulator is hoping to launch an open sports betting market towards the end of 2021.

Last month, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) released a set of draft sports betting regulations. Stakeholders will now have until 18 August to submit feedback on the proposed rules.

The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) noted that the rules will not include restrictions on products because betting exchanges, daily fantasy sports, esports bets, and live in-game wagering are all permitted.

Ontario is one of the most anticipated markets for sports betting in Canada due to its population size and its desire to offer a consumer market.

The road to single-event betting in Canada

The journey towards legalising single-event sports wagering in Canada began more than a decade ago, however, the most recent effort only started last year.

In February 2020, House of Commons MP Kevin Waugh introduced bill C-218 to the legislature. Then in November, the bill was picked up by the Canadian government.

After several readings and debates, the bill cleared the Senate and received Royal Assent in June 2022.

Operators lining up for Canada

Several Canadian provinces are considering rules to create an open market to give consumers a greater choice when it comes to sports betting. As a result, several US operators are lining up for the Canadian market.

The Australian sportsbook operator PointsBet has set up a Canadian division which is being headed up by former executives from Monkey Knife Fight and Rogers.

DraftKings also expanded its daily fantasy sports partnership with the National Football League in Canada. BetMGM has also inked deals with Wayne Gretzky and The Hockey News, in a bid to expand its Canadian profile.
Penn National Gaming will also have a route into the Canadian market after recently acquiring the Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming.